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Chuck Schumer; elections bill

The Democrats’ elections bill could ultimately hurt free speech and put an unnecessary burden on organizations.

The elections bill being put forward by Democrats is concerning to the First Amendment and could hurt free speech, experts have said.

Democrats are pushing H.R.1 (“For the People Act”) and additional legislation (S.1) as voting rights legislation that aims to increase access to the polls and limit election corruption. Fox News reported that the legislation would impose tougher donor disclosure requirements on nonprofits and other groups.

This could contribute to the “blacklist culture” of today, highlighted Former FEC Chairman and current Chairman of the Institute of Free Speech Brad Smith.

“The Supreme Court has long recognized that forced disclosure can frighten people away from speaking … We think that’s what’s intentional, that’s what the sponsors of this bill hope to happen,” Smith said. “It should be none of the government’s business.”

This part of the bill has also been criticized by the Heritage Foundation and even the liberal American Civil Liberties Union. The ACLU described the provisions as “onerous and dangerous.”

It’s clear that congressional Democrats are not afraid to trample on the First Amendment in their pursuit of “voting rights.” Their actions will hurt Americans who want to support organizations without making that information public. H.R.1 could serve as a tool for ousting conservatives and others who want to remain anonymous.

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